By Tom Luicci
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Aug. 1, 2014) – Kyle Flood was looking for Rutgers’ first pre-season practice to be little more than an extension of the team’s last spring session. That’s exactly what the Scarlet Knights’ third-year coach saw today, as the countdown clock for the Aug. 28 opener against Washington State officially started.
“I said before I wanted to see if we would be further along now than we were in practice 15 (and the end of spring),” said Flood. “I wanted this to be practice 16, not practice 1 of training camp. And I felt like it was.”
With the rain holding off until the final 15 minutes of so, Flood also saw the sense of urgency he was looking for.
“A great start today. I thought the energy level was excellent,” Flood said. “No doubt we’ve got a team that’s really anxious to get back to work. I thought it looked like that today.
“I think the energy level was good. I think the freshmen are probably a little bit ahead of where freshmen in the past have been. I think that’s just by virtue of the rule change and the ability for us to meet with them in the summer. I think from that perspective those young guys, like (running backs) Robert Martin and Josh Hicks, were able to go out there and maybe do a little bit more than some of the freshmen have in the past.”
***On the personnel front, it was announced that running back Savon Huggins, recovering from a shoulder injury, is sidelined but that the senior will mentor the running backs this summer. Also, freshman offensive lineman Jacquis Webb is limited in practice due to a lower body injury, while freshman defensive lineman Kevin Wilkins is being held out as he awaits the go-ahead from the NCAA Clearinghouse.
Meanwhile, redshirt freshman running back Devan Carter and sophomore linebacker L.J. Liston will do their conditioning during practices after both failed their conditioning tests.
***There was no news yet on the quarterback front, though Flood reiterated he will sort out the position pecking order shortly.
“I thought they did a good job of operating,” Flood said of the quarterbacks. “The throws I will look at on film and we’ll see how those were. I didn’t stay with them the entire time. But I thought the operation in and out of the huddle for day one was pretty good.”
***New defensive coordinator Joe Rossi showed up for the first day of practice sporting a full beard. … Rutgers practiced on the new field turf on F-3, the first time the Scarlet Knights have had a formal session on the new surface. Part of the old turf was installed in the baseball batting cages. … Today marked the first of nine straight practices before media day on Aug. 10.